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It's Monday! What are you Reading? is another meme hosted by Sheila at BOOK JOURNEYS that offers reviews of all kinds of books.
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Books are lighthouses erected in the great sea of time.
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The Sixty-Eight Rooms – by Marianne Malone
This is an interesting middle-grade novel with an adventure in the Thorne rooms at the Chicago Art Institute. I think everyone, adults too, likes to imagine what it might be like to shrink and travel into different places, including the real Thorne rooms, created in the 1930’s by a Mrs. James Ward Thorne, include rooms from numerous historical periods. Ruthie and Jack, sixth grade friends discover magic as they investigate the rooms, and end up creating some magic of their own in their own lives and lives of family friends. I listened to this and thoroughly enjoyed the story that touched briefly on the French Revolution and the Witch Trials of Salem. The tapes included an interview with the author and additional information about physical science.
The Story of My Boyhood and Youth – by John Muir
This is a book I re-read and this time for a book group, where each student read a different book by a naturalist. They’ve been studying nature writing and the teacher wanted to take them deeper into how the writers were changed by their own environment, thus the group and talk about how we also might be changed by both our reading and our personal experiences. For example, in Muir’s book, I loved the deeply detailed descriptions of all the birds observed in his new home in Wisconsin (he was born in Scotland), but the importance of this book to me came from Muir’s marvelous descriptions of the Passenger Pigeons, and then their extinction because of ignorance where people thought there was a limitless supply, and the killing and killing of thousands, sending them on the road to extinction. Even in this re-visiting of the book, I continue to be startled and sad and outraged that I can no longer see these birds, nor can I have the thrill of seeing so many flocks of birds that they darken the sun for a while. It is hard to imagine such a thing. If you want a good story of Muir’s roots, and how he began his journey toward being so influential in saving nature, this is a good beginning.
The Raven Boys – by Maggie Stiefvater
Well, after a few pages a week during several weeks, I finally spent real time on this wonderful book, and now must wait quite a while for the next one. I liked it very much, although the spirits of the characters didn’t hold me quite as much as those in The Scorpio Races, which I adored. However, in Raven Boys,I love the way Maggie Stiefvater does the deeper research, the way she alternates points of view, and I love a good and detailed story. This was all of them and more. The Raven Boys are uniquely interesting and an additional main character is a girl, daughter of a psychic, named Blue. Stiefvater is a wonderful writer. I liked this passage: “More than anything the journal wanted. It wanted more than it could hold, more than words could describe, more than diagrams could illustrate. Longing burst from the pages…” Can't say more. Don't want to give away anything!
One Picture book to share:
Flight – by Robert Burleigh, illus. by Mike Wimmer
This picture book offers quite a good short version of the exciting story of Charles Lindbergh’s solo flight from New York to Paris, the first flight across the Atlantic Ocean without stopping. Of course I know about this historic event, yet reading this story brought me again to this amazing feat. What courage Lindbergh had, and according to the story, he had spent a sleepless night preparing, then took off for the thirty-three hour flight. The book tells that he had been up for sixty hours! Burleigh includes the perils of the flight, even taking off to avoid the low wires near the airport, and flying high enough to avoid a thunderstorm only to realize that the wings were icing up, making the plane heavier and using too much fuel. There are more dangers you’ll have to discover when you read, and as you read, you will adore the beautiful illustrations that show well the danger and the loneliness of this adventure as Lindbergh makes his attempt to do something no one else had done.
What’s Next: I am finishing reading Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli with a group of girls at the 5th-6th grade level. Great group! I am listening to the audio version of Shine by Lauren Myracle and have some poetry anthologies and picture books from the library to enjoy.